Building Better Products with Design Systems

Caelin Sutch
5 min readMay 24, 2021

Designs systems are an incredible tool for creating reusable, systemized, and cohesive designs for any application. Companies like Airbnb, Uber, and IBM have drastically revitalized the way they design products by utilizing the collection of reusable components and designs standards that change the pace of innovation and creation.

While many companies have brand guidelines and other documents that they consider “Design Systems”, these small collections of components or code snippets, they’re missing many of the elements that make Design Systems so powerful.

What is a design system

A design system is a collection of reusable UI components, code snippets, design guidelines, philosophies, and other digital assets guided by clear standards that help companies design and build products.

It’s a massive knowledge base that’s part UI and part documentation to help designers and developers become familiar with a companies digital design language.

Like a collection of lego blocks, a design system contains all the components necessary to put together an infinite number of UI designs. However, it’s more than just building blocks, it’s also the “why” of these UI elements that make this system such a fantastic tool.

Why have a design system?

Design systems are the culmination of the entire product team. Engineers, designers, product managers, and execs all work together to come to a consensus on how things ought to be designed.

A design system serves as a single source of truth for the entire product team on not just how things look, but how things are integrated and work together. Design systems help ensure products are consistent, modular, testable, and maintainable.

In practice, design systems help programmers use more modular and reusable component structures. Designers can whip up landing pages faster by reusing pre-designed UI components. Marketers have a source of reference for which images and fonts should be used.

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Caelin Sutch

Founder, engineer, designer. Passionate about building cool shit.